On A Roll With A Few Vegasisms
Wednesday - September 28, 2005
This month’s hodgepodge is all about Las Vegas - Hawaii locals’ second home. Here are a few “Vegasisms” I picked up on my last trip there.
Vegasism No. 1: Your luck may always run out, but a good roll means an all-night high.
I’ve always told Sebastian to “know when to walk away” from the craps tables in Vegas. The casinos know how to suck you in and make you stay, thinking you can make your money back if you just bet a little more. Granted, craps does have the best odds for the player of any other casino game, but still.
First, a little history - According to the website allcraps.com, craps is the oldest confirmed game of chance in which dice were used. There is evidence it dates back to the time of the Holy Roman Empire when soldiers in the Roman Legions used to shave down pig knuckles into the shapes of cubes and toss them onto their inverted shields for entertainment.
The origin of the name “craps” is uncertain, but what is known is the modern-day version of the game is the fastest, noisiest and most exciting game in the casino.
Never one to gamble myself because I was too fearful of losing what little money I had, I preferred to mostly stay away from the casino area all together while in Las Vegas. I reasoned that I’d rather shop and come home with something to show for it instead of betting my hard-earned dollar on chance.
A year ago, however, Sebastian taught me the basics of craps. Timid at first, I only bet the minimum on the pass line, rarely backed up my bet and didn’t place any other table bets - and I never, never rolled the dice.
Women have been a more frequent sight at craps tables lately. Where it used to be a game for men, today you can see young and old, experienced and novice stacking up their chips at the tables.
This year, on a Saturday night in the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, I learned why the craps tables are always crowded. I experienced what it felt like to have that noisy ruckus that draws stares.
The table was filled with men. I was the only woman. The dice were passed from roller to roller, all the way around the table for 45 minutes with every roller “crapping out” almost immediately. So when the dice got to me, I whispered to Sebastian that I might as well try to roll myself. “I can’t be much worse than these guys,” I said.
So I rolled. And I rolled for 20 minutes straight. There were cheers coming from our table almost every roll of the dice. Strangers clapped and yelled, high-fived each other, laughed out loud and patted me on the back.
I stood on one foot, not wanting to change my rolling stance. The foot fell asleep but I continued to stand my ground. I didn’t look at anyone; I remained focused even when our friends showed up to go to a nightclub. I think I even forgot to make my own bets, but that didn’t matter. The roll was a high that lasted all night.
Vegasism No. 2: It’s easy to make new friends in Vegas.
I have yet to see a really unhappy person in Las Vegas. There’s something for everyone there, whether your pleasure be gambling, eating, shopping or dancing.
The staff is friendly at the clubs, restaurants and on the tables. No matter where you go, that enthusiasm for life and leisure carries over. People are bonded by a common desire for fun, excitement and something new. Strangers quickly become new friends. Makes you wish things were like that in every day life wherever you go.
Vegasism No. 3: Transport yourself to another world.
Don’t underestimate the power of a Las Vegas show to transport you to another world. Take a break from the gambling and shopping and eating (but check out MidWeek‘s Zig-Zag guide to eating in Las Vegas this week) and go see one - even if you think you’re not the “show type.” Go to one a day for a month and you probably would-n’t be able to get to them all.
On this last trip I was fortunate enough to see David Copperfield at the MGM, Cirque Du Soleil’s new KA show also at MGM and Mama Mia! at Mandalay Bay.
Cirque Du Soleil is always impressive. The theatre for the KA show is unbelievable. You can feel the heat coming from bursts of fire as the actors twist, turn and fly on a stage that, at times, is completely vertical. Sounds of water and arrow fire can be heard from the speakers right in your seat back!
Mama Mia! proved to be a show for the young at heart. Sebastian and I were surrounded by a sea of middle-aged to elderly dancing fiends who were inspired out of their seats to jive to the songs of ABBA. Everyone was uninhibited and you could hear show-goers recall when they used to dance to those songs years ago.
David Copperfield literally did transport someone to a different place in his show at the Hollywood Theatre. It wasn’t me he sent to the Philippines that night, but I did have a big dill pickle thrown at me from the stage. The pickle knocked me off my seat (which was about eight rows back) but Sebastian retrieved it from the floor so I got to go up on stage.
My job was to pick a playing card - the number and suit - and write it on a paper for the charming Mr. Copperfield to guess. The two of hearts was no difficult task for him to decipher. One of Sebastian’s theories is that he hypnotized me with his penetrating gaze and magnetic smile so I couldn’t help but do his bidding. I wouldn’t doubt it.
I left with a signed copy of his photo and was even so brave as to ask his father, who sat in the audience that night, if he’d sign my picture too. He scrawled his name and added, “David’s Dad” at the end.
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